CHANDLER, AZ — Tackling anxiety, depression and thoughts of suicide can be an overwhelming challenge for any family.
Psychologist Dr. Paula McCall decided to create a solution. Prepared Parenting, an annual event, aims to prevent suicide by tuning parents in to the warnings signs and giving them tools to cope.
"It's important to give information about immediate suicide risk, prevention and awareness. It's also important to target other aspects of mental health," says Dr. McCall.
Other aspects include social media, eating disorders, vaping and more.
Dr. McCall explains, "Sometimes vaping is correlated with masking symptoms of anxiety or depression. So, if we have open conversations about vaping and why our kids are vaping, we might be able to target some of those other pieces."
Parents should look out for immediate warning signs like suicidal ideation, but also more subtle signs like a sudden loss.
For example, Dr. McCall says, "Things like breakups with a boyfriend or a girlfriend." A break- up might seem insignificant to an adult but have a major impact for a teen.
Although it can seem cliche, open conversation is one key to prevention says Dr. McCall. It's never too late to start an open dialogue. More frequent conversations and reciprocating communication can ease tensions.
She adds, "There's no shame in talking about anxiety and depression. It's conversations we need to have."